May 31st 2006

grades

The thing about law school that sucks is grades. Curved grades. Ours came out today. I did fine, objectively speaking. I did not do as well as last semester, though, and I worry about what that means. Did I get complacent? Did I change the way I studied, to my detriment? (In at least one respect, I think I did.) Or was my performance nothing more than a reflection of the professors and classmates I had this semester?

It’s hard to know. Last semester, none of my grades surprised me. I honestly felt I had earned each of them. This semester, I feel that bafflement that people often talk about with law school grades–the sense that, surely, they must be arbitrary? I have no idea why two of my grades came out as they did. (The other three seemed pretty spot-on, though I still have a vague sense of arbitrariness with two of them.)

‘Tis better to know than not know, I suppose. And I don’t think my grades change anything. I think only a stunning change–positive or negative–would have had any sort of impact on anything grades-dependant. But my pride is a little wounded. I thought I had this thing figured out, and it turns out, I don’t. Or at least not as well as I thought I did.

preventing the page from going white

I’m sorry posting around here has been so spotty the last few days. I’m not feeling very motivated to write right now. Hopefully I’ll pop out of this funk soon! I do have a review of Anonymous Lawyer coming up, and maybe another food post about the homemade Margarita pizza we made on Sunday. (This blog may become a foodblog for the summer, now that I think about it.) It’s not radio silence, exactly, it’s just writer’s block.

May 30th 2006

i don’t eat healthy lunches

I would just like to note that homemade brioche is probably best served lightly toasted and smeared with Nutella. YUM.

May 28th 2006

My list o’ Threes

Randolph Jurisprudence and Cella Bella posted their third-track playlists earlier this weekend, and invited me to join in. So here’s mine. I’m not entirely happy with it, but I’m posting it anyway, because I think it says a lot about the way I buy and listen to music.

First, the rules required that the song be the third track on the original album–so no compilations, best-ofs, or soundtracks. But all I have are compilations, best-ofs, and soundtracks. Or individual songs purchased individually. As it turns out, the Belle & Sebastian song below is one such, that just happens to be the third track on its album. But I don’t own the album, just the song.

Think about what this means for music! The fact is, most of the songs on my playlist are from albums I’ve owned for no less than five years. (Aimee Mann is one exception, but I only have her music because someone gave it to me a year or so ago. I would have been more likely to buy single tracks than the entire albums. The Dixie Chicks are another exception, but Home is just an exceptional album, in my opinion.) The reason it’s so short, too, is that, of the complete albums I own, these are really the only nine songs I like enough, and that “fit” well enough to make a cohesive playlist. I suppose I could have thrown in some of the experimental instrumental music I have–or some of the English choral music I have–but I’m not sure the first would fit in any playlist, and I don’t know if songs from the latter would fulfill the “original album” requirement.

So here’s my Track Three playlist. I don’t like it. It’s too flat, too boring. But it has its own message. Hopefully that message doesn’t also include a postscript about how crappy my taste in music is.

  1. Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds, The Beatles (Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band)
  2. Red Vines, Aimee Mann (Bachelor No. 2)
  3. Please Do Not Go, Violent Femmes (Violent Femmes)
  4. Travelin’ Soldier, Dixie Chicks (Home)
  5. Weather, Jackopierce (Bringing On The Weather)
  6. Perfect World, Liz Phair (Whitechocolatespaceegg)
  7. Lost In Space, Aimee Mann (Lost in Space)
  8. If She Wants Me, Belle & Sebastian (Dear Catastrophe Waitress)
  9. With Or Without You, U2 (Joshua Tree)

Sunday breadblogging

Here’s the rest of the brioche adventure.

I didn’t take any pictures of the first, overwhelmingly large, rise. So these photos start with the punching down after the brioche had risen in the fridge for an hour. (So, first rise, punch down, second rise in the fridge, punch down/knead.)


As you can see, the dough is REALLY sticky.

Once I got the dough into a rough ball, I covered it with plastic wrap–tightly!–and set it in the fridge overnight. This morning, I pulled it out to find that, while it hadn’t risen much, it was a lot firmer, and easier to work with. So I kneaded it a little more (just a little!), used a dough scraper to chop it into four pieces, and rolled those into balls. All the recipes say to work quickly at this stage, and they were right. Working quickly, the dough was easy to form. But if I slowed down at all, it got sticky again.

I placed the balls into a greased loaf pan, and let it proof (rise some more). When that was done, I brushed the top with egg wash.


Ready to go in the oven!

Halfway through the baking, I rotated the loaf and brushed on some more egg wash.

Once it was finished baking (the sides of the loaf were golden, and the top gave a hollow sound when tapped), I pulled it out of the loaf pan and set it to cool on a wire rack.

I sliced into it, to see how the crumb turned out–and it’s BEAUTIFUL.

Now I’m off to make French toast!

announcements, announcements, anNOU-OUnceMENTS*

If you didn’t already see the announcement, I’ll be taking over the law-student-authored half of the Law School Roundup. Much like E. Spat, I’ll be wanting you to send me links with suggestions, of course. If all goes well, you can look for my first Roundup here, next Sunday. For now, of course, be sure to check out this week’s Roundup over at Evan Shaffer’s Legal Underground.

*You SING it, like we used to at summer camp.

May 27th 2006

Saturday foodblogging

I intended take pictures through the entire process, but I forgot. But today I’ve been making brioche, just because I’ve wanted to make an egg bread for a while. Right now, the dough is cold-rising in the fridge (apparently a necessity for brioche, because it’s so tough to handle that it needs to be chilled) and I’ll probably bake it in the morning. I’ll report back after we’ve had a taste.

For now, I’m a little nervous, because I may not have kneaded it long enough (in the KitchenAid stand mixer). While brioche dough is supposed be sticky, it apparently should also clean the bowl when it’s done kneading (my recipe didn’t say this, but others do). My dough never actually cleaned the sides of the bowl, though it did pull away easily when scraped it out. It doesn’t seem to have suffered–the texture of the dough after the first rise was fine (and BOY! did it inflate in a scant two hours!) but I worry about what that will do for the crumb when I actually bake it. The next time I deflate it (normally, requiring a “punching down” but with brioche requiring more of a “lifting of the edges”), I may do a quick knead-by-hand in the bowl. Just to be on the safe side. I’m also worried because I used bread flour (I want a sturdier bread for French toast) and most of the recipes out there call for all-purpose. Bread flour, having a higher protein content, is really good for chewy breads, but brioche is not generally considered “chewy” or “sturdy.” So I worry that I’ll end up with a rich, chewy bread that is worthless UNLESS I make French toast with it.

So I’ll post pictures of the final product, tomorrow morning, if I remember. If it turns out well, I’ll post the recipe.

May 26th 2006

self-revelation before Memorial Day

The Holiday weekend has begun!

Yesterday, I never left the apartment. I got up later than I intended to and, because I was waiting on something time-sensitive via email, I ended up never leaving. It made me very, VERY antsy come evening.

So today, I determined that I would LEAVE THE HOUSE. I went to the grocery store, first, and bought food for the weekend, including the first magnum of pinot noir I’ve ever seen. Pinot noir, by the way, is sort of a fragile grape, so I have NO idea how a…cough, cough…less than $15, 1.5 liter bottle of it will taste. But at least it’s not merlot. Then I went and got a quickie manicure–no polish, file and buff only, plus hand massage–and then I went to the bookstore. And I bought the June edition of the Atlantic Monthly (and argh, there’s an article in it that drove me batty) and two books.

In other words, I got out. It was NICE. I would have gone to the pool, but it doesn’t open until tomorrow. Given that I only have two more months to enjoy having a pool at my apartment, I should use it.

I know my summer sounds like it’s turning out to be totally cushy–manicure? bookstore? on a Friday?–but I’m not really made for this sort of thing. I need stuff to do. I knew that this week would be a little lower key for my summer jobs, but I had no idea how hard it would be for me. I can’t just be at home and watch TV or read blogs or sit around. And when I’m out wandering around–given that I’m not working very many hours yet–I just worry about how much money I’m going to spend doing the things I like to do. Like, going to museums and art galleries. And shopping. And eating. And drinking.

Sigh. I guess it’s good to know that I am TOTALLY not cut out to be a housewife, at least one who doesn’t have any kids at home. But it doesn’t make it any easier when I don’t have the money to enjoy getting out of the house.

maybe i’m not as old as i thought?

This is fascinating. Teenagers are like…dogs?

Notably, I can hear the sound in one of the clips Amber provides, but not in the other. However, even when I can hear it, it’s not so noticeable that it would work as a ring tone for me.

May 24th 2006

battling spam, one setting at a time

A barrage of spam has hit me in the last couple of hours. So from now on, you’ll need to provide an email address if you want to comment. For most of my regular commenters, this probably won’t be a big deal, but some visitors like to stay anonymous. Just know that any email address you enter will NEVER be visible to anyone but me. We’ll see if that helps reduce the amount of spam that gets through. If not, I may have to go to a fully moderated system.

Update: Meh. All comments now have to be approved. I’ll try and remove that limitation soon, but until then, I’ll just have to play moderator.

what happened to this world? i just don’t get it.

Since when did American Idol become a red-carpet worthy event? Do you know that, right now, on TV, they are showing the American Idol Live Red Carpet?

I seriously DO NOT understand! I mean, I get that people really like the reality show itself–I used to watch it. It’s totally rags-to-riches, dream-come-true stuff. So it’s not that I don’t get the buzz surrounding the show.

But does it deserve a red carpet gab fest outside the Kodak Theatre? I mean, hell, Jillian Barberi is wearing JEANS. NO ONE should wear JEANS while interviewing anyone on the red carpet outside the freakin’ Kodak Theatre. Right there, you know American Idol isn’t important enough to have this silly red carpet thing.

Needless to say, I won’t be watching it tonight. But Altouse has been blogging it. Check there for more about tonight’s show.

May 23rd 2006

sometimes life just works your way

We found an apartment!

We looked at two places this afternoon. The first was OK. No central air, but it was spacious and had all kinds of vintage details. But the bathroom was seriously weird–right by the front door, and no bigger than a postage stamp. Erm. The second wasn’t as spacious, but had central air, heat, and a big, beautiful bathroom.

We rented the second one. We have a whole floor of a building with an apartment above us and below us. We have hardwood floors. We have a spacious kitchen (though with marginal counter space…sigh). We have a spacious bedroom with a deep closet. We have a second bedroom, suitable for a desk (and possibly a futon. Possibly). We have a bay window and a decorative fireplace and an enclosed porch and plenty of storage. Mr. Angst looked at me after ten minutes there and said, “I think we should take it. Now.” So we did.

Notably, the landlord wasn’t even put off by our student status. Turns out, he owns another building where some classmates of mine live. Wadda ya know? SOME landlords LIKE law students as tenants.

The apartment hunt, my friends, is over. And it feels SO GOOD.

it’s about DAMN TIME

Our apartment building FINALLY turned on the air conditioning. Yes, yes, I know it was only 62 degrees yesterday, but the sun burns into our apartment all afternoon, making it a good 15 degrees hotter than the outside. Nothing is worse than walking in the door to your sauna/apartment after a hot walk home, lugging bags. And today…today it’s over 70, with no more coolfronts in the future.

So, YAY, they turned the AC on. BOO, however, for them turning it on at the least efficient time possible–4:00 pm. Right when the aforementioned afternoon sun is aforementionedly burning into our apartment. It’s OK, though. We have to go look at a couple of apartments in a bit anyway, so hopefully when we get back, things’ll have cooled off in here.

May 22nd 2006

yeah, more tv blogging

From tonight’s [adult swim] (in part):

Bitch please.

Don’t even get us started on constitutional law.

I feel it.

observation

Why do all my TV shows end right when I finally have time to watch them?

thing that bug me

Is anyone else seriously annoyed that Rachel Ray pronounces liqueur “li-CYURE”? And not even in the nice, French-sounding way. I strongly believe that, unless you are French or speak French, you should not try to pronounce the syllables that do not exist in your version of American English. It’s like that movie French Kiss, when Meg Ryan spends twenty minutes trying to learn to pronounce the name “Luc.” If you can’t get it right, just Americanize it.

I’ve said it before, you can take the girl outta Kentwood….

There are so many things wrong with this that I do not EVEN know where to start. Like, the black bra under the doily? And the jeans that are WAY too low-rise so we all know not only that she wears a thong but what brand it is? The baby looks adorable, of course, but I shudder to think of the day when he googles himself and finds this picture. The other baby, the one in utero, is pretty bad off, too, if only because no pregnant woman should be wearing pants with less than a 2-inch rise.

GOD. I really think the anti-Br!tney press is awful, constantly haranguing her for being a bad parent, since we don’t really know if she’s a bad parent. But, at least with this outfit, they hit the nail on the head. Who dresses like this on a normal day, much less on an I’m-pregnant-with-an-eight-month-old day?

May 21st 2006

loving where you are

It’s been a relaxing Sunday. I cleaned our kitchen and straightened up part of the rest of the apartment. I think my motivation was, in part, that, if we lost the “perfect” apartment, I wanted our current home to be as comfortable as possible. That also perhaps explains why I also baked a loaf of bread.

A cousin of mine was in town this weekend, so we had lunch with her and her husband today. They were both enjoying their trip to Our Fair City, and were so enthusiastic about being here, and it was infectious. It reminded me of what I like about being here. It’s hard sometimes, when the only people I see are my classmates and my husband, to feel like this city is any different from any other place I could have lived in. I don’t think I’ve had much opportunity to really fall in love with this place, even though I’m happy here.

The apartment hunt doesn’t really inspire love, which is sad. This time now, while we’re looking for a new home, should be an opportunity to find a neighborhood and become entranced with it. The experience so far, however, has been less than pleasant. I’m looking at a few more places this week, so hopefully things will improve. I need some more love in my life.

May 20th 2006

faith in humanity: dwindling

People, my friends, can be totally shitty. Also, I’m a freaking LAW STUDENT. You should WANT to rent to me, jackass.

Back to square one.

Update: So yeah, the nice, dreamy apartment is gone. Called this morning to ask a question and find out when I could come fill out an application and was told he already had an application in that he didn’t think was going to fall through. I love it when a landlord tells you the night before that he doesn’t have any applications ready, but “if you want to call tomorrow, I can meet up to do the paperwork” all the while knowing he’s got another someone looking at the apartment. I told him that I would have moved faster had I known there were other people interested and his response was, “I never have trouble renting the place.” Excuse me, what?

So I was pissed earlier–not so much because of the apartment itself because were sort of still on the fence about it, but because we were treated badly–we were played, if you will. It’s maddening and it makes me angry.

So we’re eating carbs and drinking wine and margaritas and, tomorrow, we start over. Sigh. I hate apartment hunting.

May 19th 2006

self-reflection

Somewhere along the line, I became a really grumpy person. I’ve always thought of myself as pretty happy, optimistic, and easygoing. OK, maybe not easygoing. But generally happy and upbeat, yes.

Lately, though, I find myself grumpy and annoyed at the smallest things. I mean, I think three years ago I might have found them small. Now they are incidents worthy of an increase in blood pressure.

For instance, yesterday, I was picking up a couple of things from the grocery store and the man behind me was a mouth-breather. But not a normal mouth-breather; he was an expressive mouth-breather.

So, he’s huffing away behind me as the woman in front is being rung up, and suddenly I hear him exhale, “…fifteen…” We were in the express lane and he was, apparently, COUNTING her yogurts under (well, maybe NOT under) his breath. And then he kept huffing. Mouth breathing, almost wheezing, but not quite wheezing, over my shoulder. I moved forward and he let out a HUGE whoosh! of air, like I was inconveniencing him by making him move forward before he was ready, but he moved forward anyway, until he was so close to me that I could not only feel his breath on my neck but could also smell his body odor.

And I left the store IRATE. That stupid, smelly mouth-breathing, item-counting jackass! It just got under my skin.

Today, I found myself getting irate again (also at the grocery store) over something similarly underwhelming, and I stopped myself. I literally stopped myself, in the aisle where I was shopping, to take a deep breath and ask myself, “When did I become this person? This person who gets annoyed at every little thing, who loses her temper over the everday encounters?” I don’t know the answer, but I think at least part of it is that I’m not sure I know how to relax anymore.

I don’t like being this person. I don’t like being stressed and pissy. I want to enjoy my grocery shopping. I want to enjoy walking down the street. I want to ride the bus or the train without having to suppress the urge to throttle someone. And the funny thing is that part of me insists that it’s everyone else who is rude, or inconsiderate, or unmannered, and that my bitchiness is justified. Frankly, it probably is that other people are oblivious to me and my cart trying to go down the aisle, or get on the train, or check out at the store without my airspace being polluted. I’m just not convinced that makes it OK for me to lose it.

I want to be a happy and upbeat person again.